Monday, December 26, 2011

The Tower's Alchemist by Alesha L. Escobar

"The Tower's Alchemist" takes place in an alternate WWII era. I've included a food-related excerpt as well as an authentic wartime recipe for bread pudding! Here’s the excerpt:

I still hopelessly tried to make an American dish every now and then but then I would only end up frustrated and yearning for home while my belly groaned. I decided to see what Jane was cooking and went downstairs to her flat on the first floor. I knocked a couple of times and she answered the door, wearing a dirty apron and wiping flour from her hands. Her freckled face broke into a smile and she welcomed me in.

“Please, have a seat, Isabella. I was just finishing the liver sandwiches.” She went back into her kitchen and pulled a dish out of the oven.

“Liver sandwiches?” I wanted to grimace but unless I was cooking for myself I had no right to object.

“Well, it’s more like a meat-filled pastry.”

“Filled with liver?” As if I were supposed to overlook that fact.

“Not everyone in the world eats just loads of fried cows and cheese.”

“This is going to be interesting.”

“I’m trying to follow the ration recipes from Woman’s Weekly.” She gestured toward the magazine on her coffee table.

“Is it that bad?” I went over and grabbed the magazine and flipped through its pages. I took a few moments to scan its housekeeping articles and recipes.

“It’s starting to be. If you went to buy food more often, you’d know.” She arranged the liver sandwiches on two plates and invited me to come sit with her at the dining table.

“You’re cooking an awful lot lately.” I took a bite and gave silent thanks that she had at least seasoned the meat.

“Well I’m just honing my housekeeping skills, you know.” She bit into her sandwich and turned her left hand to reveal a diamond engagement ring on her finger. She must have slipped it on in the kitchen.

“Congratulations, Jane.” With a smile I got up and threw my arms around her. “I didn’t know...have I been away that long?”

“It was all so sudden, even I’m still surprised.” Her face simply glowed.

“Garret is a lucky man.” I frowned when she took it upon herself to plop another sliver of sandwich into my mouth. I wondered if she hid some stew or dumplings in the refrigerator and this was all to torture me.


Certain foods were luxuries during wartime, and many meals consisted of soups, vegetables, and … SPAM. Okay, stop making that face.

Below is a recipe for bread pudding—give it a try! This recipe (and others) can be found at The 1940's Experiment.

Bread Pudding

· 10 ounces of stale bread (you’ll have to use your kitchen scales!)

· 2 ounces of margarine or butter

· 1 ounce of sugar

· 2 ounces of dried raisin sultanas

· 1 egg (fresh or dried)

· milk to mix

· cinnamon

· extra sugar for topping


Put bread into a basin and add a little water. Leave for 10 minutes.

Squeeze bread out until fairly dry

Return bread to empty basin and add all the other ingredients (except spice) adding a little milk to make a sticky consistency

Add cinnamon a little at a time until your own taste

Place mixture into a greased pan (like a lasagna pan)

Cook at 160 degrees C for an hour or so until edges are browned and centre is hot

Sprinkle sugar on top 10 minutes before end of cooking

Allow to cool a little, slice and serve

Serves 8 to 10

Alesha L. Escobar
The Tower's Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy #1)


  1. How cool Bread pudding! Now i have a recipe to attempt to cook something hehe :)

  2. Love the recipe! You mentioned spam...I'd really never eaten it until a Hawaiian friend brought spam sushi to a potluck we had. It's delicious!

    Nice to meet you during the blog tour!


  3. Spam! I haven't had that in years. Maybe the bread pudding recipe could be modified somehow to add some.
    pmas0518 (at) bellsouth (dot) net

  4. I loved both of these excerpts; I'm intrigued by Alesha's ration recipes, and I thought your above line - "The power was still on, but the word was out" - was so well-put!

  5. Ok this is awfully genius! A book excerpt and delicious recipes? I love this tour!


  6. Nothing at all wrong with Spam! :-D

    I will have to try the bread pudding. I heard of it but never had a chance to taste it yet.

    Thanks for posting a yummy and informative excerpt!


  7. Glad you're all enjoying this! Bread pudding is the best. Thanks James for inviting me to post :-)

  8. Shelley Workinger: you won "The Judge", but I don't have your email address. Please send it to me at jhatch^

    Congratulations and Thanks!

  9. Sorry Shelley ... that address is I guess the shift key was on.